Unit Two: Studying Africa through the Social Studies
Module 7A: Early African History, Until 16th Century CE
Introduction to Module 7A: Early African History, Until 16th Century CE
PURPOSE: Module 7A: Early African History, Until 16th Century CE will discuss some of both the more well-known and less well-known points of interest throughout the history of Africa until the arrival of Europeans in sub-Saharan Africa in the 15th century CE. This period of African history has often been grossly misrepresented as timeless, stagnate, and primitive. In an attempt to better represent early African history, this module will look at its richness, diversity, and dynamism. Much historical work has been done recently to try to portray the early history of Africa more accurately.
Another misfortune of African history, as it has often been taught, is that its great civilizations and kingdoms are focused on to the exclusion of other areas of the continent that were less centralized. These areas have just as rich a history. As we look at several of these great civilizations and kingdoms in this module, we will also highlight other less well-known stories.
Students will be encouraged throughout the module to not only learn the historical material that we have presented, but also to think about the tools that historians use and the various interpretations that historians have in constructing and explaining histories. Moreover, students are encouraged on to use historians' tools and resources (including sources on the internet) on their own to further investigate aspects of African history that are of interest to them.
Detailed Teacher Notes are included to provide additional information about some of the themes and concepts interwoven throughout this module. In addition, each activity has a Teacher Page that provides further background and class discussion materials related to that activity.
OBJECTIVES: After completing this module, students will have gained the following:
- An understanding of some of the prominent tools that historians use to learn about the past.
- An understanding of how each historian has his/her own unique interpretations, perspectives, and biases in the work that s/he does, and how that history is constantly being revised with new evidence and interpretations.
- Knowledge of five great kingdoms and civilizations on the African continent prior to the 16th century CE.
- Knowledge of other areas of Africa that existed during the same time frame as the great kingdoms and civilizations, which are generally less well-known but important parts of African history.
- What tools do historians use, and how do these affect the way a historian interprets clues and records from the past?
- What are some of the great civilizations and kingdoms of early African history?
- What was happening in other parts of Africa during the time of these great civilizations and kingdoms?
Go on to Overview for Module 7A